Teach the Children Well

My friend Eric Tischler of The Hurricane Lamps and The Jet Age posted this classic Onion piece on Facebook – “Cool Dad Raising Daughter On Media That Will Put Her Entirely Out Of Touch With Her Generation” – with the comment, “My heart-felt inner monologue rendered as satire.”

I can relate: As I explained in an interview once, my dad had firm control over the radio dial, so growing up in the 80s I only ingested classic rock, which sounded a lot better than the contemporary stuff I was hearing. (Of course, now I listen to a ton of bands from my childhood that I had no idea existed – it wasn’t on the suburban radio station and I lacked a cool older sibling.) Oh how the kids at school made fun of me for my love of Bowie, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and the uncoolest band of all time: The Beatles.

I was especially given a hard time by the jean-jacket-wearing, mullet-spouting guys who were into Metallica and Guns & Roses. Now considering how far from grace both of those groups have fallen. Primus is another band I remember the cool kids raving about – the best description I ever read of Les Claypool and crew was by Dr. David Thorpe, who commented that Primus is that band that your older brother was into, and he seemed so cool when you were young, but then you got older and listened to it and realized, “Wow, this kind of sucks.”

I have to give a lot of credit to my father for shaping my taste in music early, and actually inspiring me to pick up the guitar. I struck out on my own listening path around the time Nirvana broke, but my dad actually considers Nirvana Unplugged one of his favorite albums. I think my love of NIN was much harder for him to relate to, though I was listening to The Bends a lot at the same time, another modern favorite for him. I’m still trading music suggestions with him now.

When it comes to music, Eric’s kids are lucky to have a dad who is a talented musician, has pristine taste, and can probably listen to contemporary artists and point out their influences, thereby furthering their musical discovery. Also, I think the current crop of kids (Generation Z?) are growing up in a time similar to my childhood: mainstream music is simply godawful. Since “indie” itself is now an industry producing one milquetoast product after another, the hunt is on for the “new alternative” (it is not revivalist emo).

Perhaps Libel is part of that… Tell your kids they can’t listen to my album because it has explicit lyrics – that’ll really get them interested… Eric mentioned his friend David  told him the secret about how to upgrade his kids’ musical tastes: he just puts cool music on without any preamble, and answer all questions as if he’s distracted and not really interested in talking about it but he’ll indulge.

BTW, I don’t have kids (that I know of), but I’m deathly afraid if/when I do that they will find my music incredibly lame…

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